Sprouts are considered wonderful foods. They line up as the freshest and most nutritious of all the vegetables available to the human diet.With a process of natural transmutation, the sprouted food acquires considerably improvements in digestibility and nutritional quality compared to the non-sprouted embryo from which it derives.Sprouted foods have been part of the diet of many ancient peoples for thousands of years. Even today, the Chinese retain their fame for delicious mung bean sprouts.
Sprouts provide all the essential vitamins and minerals . They should form a vital component of our diet.
The innumerable properties of shoots
There is an incredible increase in nutrients in sprouted foods compared to their dried embryo. In the germination process vitamins, minerals and proteins sprout with a substantial increase with corresponding decrease in calories and carbohydrate content.
These comparisons are based on the equivalent water content in the measured foods. Analysis of dry seeds, cereals and legumes shows a very low water content . But this increases up to ten times when the same food is converted into a bud.
To make a precise comparison each must must be brought to a common denomination of equal water content to assess the exact change brought in nutritional value. Sprouted mung beans, for example, have an increase of 8.3 water content over dried beans.
Thus the nutritional value of sprouted and dried mung beans can be compared by multiplying the analyzed nutrients of sprouted mung beans by the factor of 8.3. Based on this criterion, the changes found in sprouted mung beans when compared with data on dried ones are the following:
|Low energy and calories||15% reduction|
|Total carbohydrate content||9% decrease|
|Vitamin A||285% increase|
|Thiamine (vitamin B1)||208% increase|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2)||515% increase|
|Niacin (vitamin B3)||256% increase|
|Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)||Substantial increase|
Increased protein availability is of great importance.
It is a valid indicator of the higher nutritional value of a food when sprouted. The simultaneous reduction in carbohydrate content indicates that many carbohydrate molecules are broken down during germination to allow for an absorption of atmospheric nitrogen and reform into amino acids . The resulting protein is more easily digested than all the proteins available in food .
The significant increase in sodium content supports the sprouting foods offer nutritional qualities . Sodium is essential for the digestive process within the gastrointestinal tract and also for the elimination of carbon dioxide. Together with the remarkable increase in vitamins and sodium, it materially contributes to the easy digestibility of shoots.
Dried seeds, cereals and legumes do not contain distinguishable traces of ascorbic acid, but when sprouted, they reveal enough significant quantities that are important for the body’s ability to metabolize proteins.
The infinite increase in ascorbic acid derives from their absorption of atmospheric agents during growth.
Sprouts have several other advantages .
They provide pre-digested food, that is, the food that has already been subjected to enzymes and is therefore easily digested. During germination, most of the starch is subdivided into simple sugar such as glucose and sucrose by the action of the ‘Amylase’ enzyme .
Proteins are converted into amino acids and starches .
Fats and oils are converted into simpler fatty acids by the action of ‘ lipase’ .
During sprouting, the grains lose their unpleasant gas, since the oligosaccharides are responsible for the formation of gas, and for the maintenance of health a certain amount of gas production is necessary, but should be within safe limits.
Since in the early stages of the germination process, the percentage of oligosaccharides is reduced from 90 . Sprouts contain a lot of fiber and water and, therefore, are useful for overcoming constipation .
Sprouts are an extremely economical method to obtain a concentrate of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. They have in them all the constituent nutrients of fruit and vegetables and they are the ‘living’ foods. Eating sprouts is the best and safest way to get the benefit of contamination free fruit and vegetables and harmful insecticides.
It must, however, be ensured that dried seeds and beans are purchased from a store where they are fresh, untreated and packaged as food. Seeds that are packaged for sowing may contain compounds of mercury or other toxic chemicals.
List of sprouts:
All edible grains, seeds and legumes can sprout , but are generally used for germination or the following seeds:
- Cereals : wheat, corn, ragi, bajra and barley.
- Seeds: alfalfa, radish, fenugreek seeds, carrot seeds, coriander seeds, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds.
- Mung Legumes : Bengal, peanuts and peas.
- Alfalfa: as the name means in Arabic, it is the queen of all shoots. Growing as a plant, its roots are known to be excavated more than 12 meters underground to make precious mineral traces appear, of which manganese , which is particularly important for health and digestion; it is an essential component of human insulin . Apart from minerals, alfalfa is also a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, E, K and amino acids .
- Sesame seeds : they are another good source of nutrition. Theycontain all the essential amino acids in their 20 percent and highest protein and calcium concentrationthat gives milk. They arerich in lecithin, unsaturated fats, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins, as well as other living nutrients.
How to grow sprouts
As a first step, a good variety of seeds should be used for germination. It must be ensured that the seeds, legumes or grains are of the germinable type. Soybeans do not germinate well and often become sour.
The wheat must be planted in the ground . It is advisable to use seeds that are not chemically treated because this slows down the germination rate.
The seeds must be carefully washed and then soaked overnight in a jar of pure water . The vase must be covered with gauze or thread . The duration of soaking will depend on the size of the seed.
- Small seeds are soaked for five hours
- medium-sized seeds for eight hours
- Cereals and beans from 10 to 12 hours
The following morning, the seeds must be rinsed and the water discharged. no more than a quarter of the pot must be filled with seeds for germination. Soaking makes the seeds, cereals or legumes fat, pulpy and full of water. Consequently, it should be ensured that the vessel has enough space to allow the seeds to expand during germination. They will expand their original format eight times.
The vase must be kept in a place that is neither cold nor hot. Also ensure that the mouth of the jar is not completely covered so as to allow air to enter it.
The seeds must be rinsed and the water drained three times a day, until they are ready for consumption. The seeds germinate and become sprouts in two or three days from the start of the soak, depending on the temperature and humidity. Ensure that the buds do not remain in the water.
They must be kept well drained to avoid acidification. The shoots are at their optimal level of flavor and tenderness when the small green leaves appear at the tips. Their nutritional value is also optimal.
To maintain their freshness and nutritional value, they should be placed in a refrigerator if they cannot be consumed immediately after adequate growth is achieved. Ripe shoots can be stored for several days in this way.
Some caution is necessary in germination. Soaking for longer periods than required makes the seeds rotten or fermented . The main factors for germination are water, air, heat and darkness .
There may be little or no germination if any of these factors are not present such as:
- Insufficient water
- Too much water
- Insufficient heat
- Lack of fresh air
- Environment too cold or too hot.
- Excessive light